St. Petersburg Times

By Susan Taylor Martin, Times Senior Correspondent
In Print: Sunday, June 20, 2010

To thousands of homeowners whose loans have been shuttled from one company to another, the name “Bryan Bly” is very familiar.

Over the past few years, Bly has signed countless mortgage assignments as either a notary public or “vice president” of various lenders.

In reality, Bly works for Nationwide Title Clearing, a Palm Harbor company. And he was recently reprimanded by state regulators after acknowledging in a sworn statement that Nationwide Title had him notarizing so many documents that he scribbled his initial instead of signing his full name as required by law.

Such a pace, critics say, shows that Bly and other so-called “robo signers” can’t possibly be sure that what they’re signing is accurate.

“Our entire system of real estate is founded upon the ability of courts to believe in the documents before them,” says Matthew Weidner, a St. Petersburg lawyer who has a blog on foreclosure issues. “What this (Bly’s statement) describes is assembly-line document production with no concern for the facts in front of them.”

Bly’s name has become well known in the foreclosure defense field since the St. Petersburg Times reported last year that he and Crystal Moore signed thousands of mortgage assignments as officers of Option One and other lenders even though both work for Nationwide Title.

Assignments are key in determining who actually owns a mortgage, an all-important matter as banks foreclose on loans that were bundled into securities and sold to investors. To expedite the processing of mortgage assignments, many banks authorize Bly, Moore and others at Nationwide Title to sign on their behalf.

In a statement Friday to the Times, Nationwide Title said it employs “many people” in various departments “to make sure that each and every document is legal, compliant and complete” when it reaches signers like Bly and Moore.

The company also said that it serves banks around the country and “is subject to their due diligence and quality control audits on a regular basis.”

The 2009 Times story caught the attention of Samuel Smart, a Naples homeowner whose loan has changed hands twice.

“The real concern I have, if I were to sell my house, who can legitimately sign off on my mortgage?” Smart said.

Last year, when MoreEquity Inc. transferred his loan to another company, Smart noticed that the mortgage assignment was signed by Crystal Moore as vice president of MoreEquity and notarized by Bly. However, Bly signed with only a B and not as “Bryan J. Bly,” the signature approved by the state.

Florida law says: “Once commissioned, the notary must sign precisely as commissioned by the state of Florida, in the exact name appearing on your notarial commission certificate.”

Bly’s Signature on Assignment

Bly’s Signature on Notary Application

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Be sure to join us next week at our Appreciation Day at the Florida Bar Convention held at the Boca Resort to hear Ron Gillis, Expert Notary Public speak on these exact issues – Misconduct of notaries; how to spot it, how to report it.